The modifiability of language input with toddlers with expressive language delay: A study of a team approach to parent training
Littleton, Robert F., Jr
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This study investigated the effects of training parents to administer a modified version of the focused stimulation intervention technique first reported by Girolametto, Pearce, and Weitzman (1996). Treatment was modified in a manner that increased reliance on a broader array of elements of responsive adult input (RAI), while eliminating reliance on a stipulated frequency of repetition. Prescriptive activity-based parent teaching was provided in the home by a team comprised of a speech and language pathologist (SLP) and a non-SLP early interventionist who was delegated responsibility for the majority of treatment. Eight parents and their toddlers with expressive language delay were randomly assigned to receive either prescriptive activity-based treatment (Treatment/PAT group) or traditional early intervention (Delayed-treatment Control/TEl group). Control group families received traditional early intervention services during the experimental period. Protocols for assignment of vocabulary targets and collection of outcome data were intended to replicate those of Girolametto et al. (1996). With one exception (Type Token Ratio), results indicate changes in the predicted direction for treatment group (PAT) parents and children receiving prescriptive activity-based treatment. Inferential statistics indicated a significant interaction for the Symbolic Play Test (Lowe & Costello, 1988). Results for measures that did not achieve statistical significance are attributed to the fact that the control group (TEl) received traditional early interventionist services during which non-SLP early interventionists modeled RAI elements. The study compares favorably with Girolametto et al. on numeric scores and magnitudes of effect. Following treatment, the language of parents receiving prescriptive activity-based treatment was slower, less complex, and more focused than those in the control group. Treatment group children used more target ords during naturalistic observations, used more words during free-play, and made substantial gains in vocabulary. Substantial gains were also identified in talkativeness and structural complexity of child language.
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